The new PlayStation 3 Superslim sports a retro look. The matte black finish on the grooved panel running across the top of the console reminds us of the Atari 2600, while the top loading disc drive brings back memories of playing Sonic CD on the redesigned Sega CD in the early 90s.
Weighing just 4.6lb (2.1kg), the Super Slim is three pounds lighter than the PS3 Slim and is approximately 20 percent smaller and thinner than previous models, measuring 11.4" × 2.3" × 9" (29 × 6 × 23 cm). The sleek curved frame, small size and lightweight doesn’t make any difference to the performance of the new console (unless you’re planning on moving your PS3 around frequently), but if you have limited space in your T.V. cabinet, it does fit quite snugly among your other devices without taking up too much space.
The major design change comes courtesy of the Blu-ray drive. The grooved central panel on top of the console, which is encased top and bottom by the familiar dust-collecting glossy black plastic styling of previous models, isn't just part of the new aesthetic. In this latest revision, you have to physically place the disc into the Blu-ray drive and then manually slide the loading tray from right to left to close it, so the ridges give your fingertips something to grasp as you close the panel.
Though we like the overall design, the build quality of the loading panel doesn’t instil us with confidence as the plastic sliding panel is quite thin and flimsy; we do worry that it will break over long term use, or if we close it too vigorously. Manually having to close the panel feels a little bit awkward and clunky too when compared to the way you simply tease the mouth of other PS3 models with your game disc and watch it smoothly swallow it up.
Elsewhere, all the main features on the PS3 are present, including the AC adaptor port, Optical out, RCA, Ethernet and HDMI slots on the rear of the console, as well an air vent that to ensure it doesn’t overheat. On the front panel are two USB ports on the bottom left-hand side, and the on/off switch on the right, which lights up either green or red depending on its current status. There’s a small design change on the front panel as the on/off switch now sits on a slightly protruding toggle bar measuring around six inches. Pressing the right hand-side of that bar turns the console on and off and pressing the left-hand side opens up the disc-loading tray, though this can also be done manually.
In the box, you get the wireless DualShock 3 controller and charging cable, a composite A/V cable and power cable. Once again, the bundle disappointingly doesn’t include a HDMI cable which you’ll have to buy separately if you want to get the most out of the 1080p/1080i/720p display. The Superslim is said to produce less power than previous models, with a 190W power supply replacing the 250W supply of the most recent Slim models, but internally you still have the same RSX GPU drive and 45nm Cell processor.
The Superslim currently comes with a hefty 500GB harddrive, which is a good size for storing lots of data. In terms of performance, there doesn’t appear to be any difference between the Superslim and the previous models as loading times are identical. However, it is noticeably quieter than any previous SKU with very quiet whirring sounds even when you first load a disc.
No matter which model of PS3 you pick up you’ll still get access to a range of great PlayStation Network options and software so nothing has changed there, but the fact that you can pick up a Slim for slightly cheaper than the £229 price tag placed on this new model makes it hard to recommend. Nonetheless, some of the bundles on offer, including Play.com’s deal of Gran Turismo 5: Academy Edition, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Game Of The Year Edition and FIFA 13 for £269.99, may tempt those who are looking to buy a PS3 for the first time. Unless you’re really a fan of the new styling, the large harddrive and the compact design though, there’s little reason for existing PS3 or Slim owners to invest.
Note: our final score also takes into account the PS3 hardware and software.
-The Final Word-
The hardware is as good as ever and the software library is now comprehensive, but when you can pick up a Slim for less than this new model, it's hard to recommend it just for a few styling changes.